Friday, September 16, 2016

Fed Up Friday - The Movement You've Missed

This season is chock full of craziness. While some of us have been obsessing about the election, or chiming in social injustice protests, there has been another movement brewing in America. Near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, thousands of people have gathered for months to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline. For those who are unaware, this pipeline would run through four states (from North Dakota to Illinois) and would transverse many waterways. Several Native American tribes have come together to protest the pipeline, which is scheduled to run through some of their burial grounds and waterways.

Many people don't fully know the atrocities suffered by the Native American tribes in the United States. It isn't taught in our public schools and I think that is because the government doesn't want to acknowledge exactly what they did, how many folks died, how the government itself is responsible for cheating all the tribes out of land and liberty, etc. Though I grew up in the Midwest, I can tell you, most of my understanding of tribes was learned because I was curious-- not because it was something everyone learned in school. Most of us have heard of the "Trail of Tears" but what else? The same can be said of African Americans and Civil Rights, the South and the Civil War, immigrants looking for work at the turn of the century, business monopolies.

Well, two weeks ago protesters were attacked by dogs. By dogs. Simply because folks want to live on their land unobstructed... with untainted drinking water.  Land that the United States government put them on. Rewind 50 years and you will see photos of dogs attacking people who wanted to live as equals to their white counterparts.

In the past week, President Obama has halted construction of a portion of the pipeline-- much to the chagrin of some and to the relief of others. But, what is the long term plan? Mainstream media doesn't seem infatuated with the idea of telling this story. President Obama has about 3 and a half months left in office... his successor has not yet been elected, but one of the contenders has severe psychological issues. What will happen after this winter? Will Native American groups be dealt another blow by the government? Will the vast majority of mainstream media continue to ignore this movement happening in the Midwest? Will the pipeline be built?

It seems pertinent to mention that today it is being reported that there is a leak in the pipeline that runs from Texas to North Carolina. Gas prices on the East Coast are expected to rise. Surrounding environment is at risk. Six thousand barrels of oil, leaking in Alabama. This is EXACTLY what the folks in North Dakota fear happening in their area. This is exactly what their movement is fighting. Are we paying attention?


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